Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lipstick on a pig in back-to-back wins

  • You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig! That old expression can be used to describe  the Kelowna Rockets 3-2 shootout win Saturday night over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The Rockets earned their 19th victory of the season (hello lipstick) but if you look at the entire body of work, it was an ugly home ice win. For the second consecutive night the Rockets looked disinterested and put in a half-hearted effort. It would take a Justin Kirkland goal in the shootout to win it and three consecutive stops by goaltender Jackson Whistle to nail down the win.
  • The real Rockets emerged with about 4 minutes left in the game when they began to skate and force the issue in the offensive zone. A Damon Severson back door pass to 20 year-old Zach Franko late in the game looked like the finishing touch on a rough evening but the veteran missed the puck and we were headed for overtime. 
  • What amazed me over the weekend was how the lackluster effort was felt throughout the entire line up. Outside of Jordon Cooke and Zach Franko on Friday and essentially Jackson Whistle on Saturday, uncharacteristic plays were being made all over the ice. No one was exempt. It was by far the teams worst two efforts of the season yet they amazingly still won.
  • A few bright spots? I thought Jackson Whistle made some nice stops. I didn't like the second goal he allowed which beat the 18 year-old blocker side to tie the game at two, but Whistle was good enough to earn a star in the building. Jesse Lees had a real nice hit on Blazers forward Matt Needham, knocking the captain to the ice as he cut towards the middle. I would like to see Lees, Bowey and Severson do that on a regular basis. All three are sturdy on their skates and have the power to explode into an on-coming forward. The other positive was a solid fight rookie Dalton Yorke had with Blazers lefty Connor Clouston. The two traded blows in a spirited tilt in the third period.
  • In case your forgot, both Damon Severson and Madison Bowey were playing their fourth game in four nights. Severson was able to make it through the game Saturday with a +2 rating, but Bowey showed fatigue by making plays he usually doesn't make. Obviously the other media in the building thought he was better than what I witnessed, giving the Rockets captain the second star.
  • Severson and Bowey will be all ears Monday when Hockey Canada releases its list of players that will attending training camp later this month for a spot on the World Junior team. Severson has the best shot, considering his age, but it is not a slam dunk. Remember Brett Bulmer was also a second round NHL draft pick and he too didn't earn a spot on the team.
  • Enough negatives. The Rockets closed out the month of November with a record of 10-1-0-0. It isn't the best November ever, but matches the 10-1-0-0 mark the team recorded in the 2010-2011 season. November has traditionally been a good month for the Rockets, who were an impressive 9-2-0-0 last season. In 2007-2008, again the team sparkled in November with nine wins in 11 games.
  • The Rockets have been involved in ten-one goal games this season. The team is 7-1-0-2 in those ten games. The only out-right loss in a one goal game came against the Calgary Hitmen October 22nd in a 2-1 setback.
  • The Rockets have been out-shot on home ice three times this season. Against Kamloops last night followed by games against Medicine Hat (36) and Portland (43).
  • After losing two of his first three games, Jackson Whistle has won four straight. His goals against average over that stretch is 1.92 with a save percentage of .920.

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